Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's in a Name?

In the interest of reaching more people with this blog, and of hopefully encountering some more distant relatives on the internet (because of how glad I am to have "met" my cousins Maureen and Barbara online), I've decided to start interacting a little more with other genealogy bloggers. Apparently, there are lots of them! And imagine my surprise when, looking into some genealogy blog carnivals, I discovered that the upcoming Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture is the What's in a Name edition! For those who don't know, names are a big hobby of mine, and so this looks like the perfect place to start.

The call for submissions reads like so:

Share with us the surnames in your Irish family tree, but don't just stop
there. Do a little research and tell us the origin of one or more of those
surnames, the stories of how they might have changed over the years, or tales of
how they've been mixed up and mispelled, etc.

Want to focus on your family's given names instead? Share with us the story
of your ancestors' Irish first names (given at birth or nicknamed later), the
"grandparent" nicknames in your Irish family tree, or any other Irish name
stories that you'd like to share.

Oh, the possibilities! All the name stories we could tell! I mean, heck, my name is Katie Scarlett O'Hara. That's an Irish name story in and of itself! There's also the interesting fact of Nana being called "Sister" by her family. And who remembers when Laura, in one day, went from being Rory to Laura? Or when Jojo began insisting that his name was, well, Jojo? We know - or think we know - that Mary Ann Madigan called her father-in-law "the Raine Druid" because of his red hair. On top of that is the fact that Uncle Jack just told me he's pretty sure our family name was O'Hora, not O'Hara, not to mention the story of why the name O'Hara got Pop laughed at in Japan - and how that came back to help me get my brown belt in Judo. I know that Dad wasn't named after Pop because Pop had a horror of the designations "Big Bill" and "Little Bill," and that Gerard was in consideration for his name, too.

But there's one name that seems to have a lot of onomastic stories attached, one name whose name itself is interesting, genealogically related, and provides, I think, lots of fodder for posts. Anyone care to hazard a guess?

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